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Britain's best Christmas markets

Looking for mulled wine, traditional wooden toys and ice rinks? We've got you covered
Mulled wine, traditional wooden toys and ice rinks? We've got you covered Credit: getty

Christmas is once again on its merry way (to the most hardcore of fans, at least), and Britain's festive markets will be opening their doors. Here are some of the best options for mulled wine, traditional wooden toys, ice rinks and much more.

Bath

November 28 to December 15

Over 150 light-strewn stalls will line the streets of Bath this year around the iconic Roman Baths and the Abbey. Nearly everything on sale is either sourced or made locally. Ceramics, glasswear, clothes, personalised presents, toys and homeware are among the items you'll find here – as well as plenty of food and drink.

When you've done enough shopping, head for the ice rink and glow-in-the-dark crazy golf course at nearby Royal Victoria Park (bathonice.com - their biggest ever this year; Nov 15, 2019 to Jan 5, 2020), take a tour of the Roman Baths, or catch this year's pantomime of Beauty & The Beast at the (Dec 12 to Jan 12).

bathchristmasmarket.co.ukvisitbath.co.uk

London 

November to January (various dates)

Visitors can take their pick from several markets throughout London this festive period, from the traditional Nordic-inspired  will take over part of Clapham Common from Nov 15 to Dec 23. Billed as London's 'alternative' winter festival, Winterville offers a Street Feast food area, big wheel, fairground, circus, backyard cinema, crazy golf and a roller disco. 

London's Winter Wonderland is one of the country's best Credit: Getty

visitlondon.com

Edinburgh

November 16 to January 4 

Edinburgh has a host of festive activities taking place well into the New Year. Visitors can choose from the Christmas market in East Princes Street Gardens which has a big wheel and Star Flyer chair ride (Nov 16 to Jan 4), the Johnnie Walker Bothy Bar serving up whisky cocktails and hot toddies (Nov 16 to Jan 4), and other goings on that include a Santa Fun Run on December 1 and a Christmas Tree Maze (Nov 16 - Jan 4).

edinburghschristmas.com

Birmingham

November 15 to December 23

Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham is one of the largest German markets held outside of Germany and Austria. Visitors can soak up the village atmosphere in Victoria Square while enjoying a range of native fare, including pretzels, schnitzels, bratwursts, roasted almonds, glühwein and weissbeer.

birmingham.gov.uk

Garish colours and overkill on the lights is what Christmas is all about Credit: Getty

Belfast 

November 16 to December 22

Belfast's City Hall gardens are transformed into a village setting for its Christmas market. Visitors can wander around its stalls, sampling festive treats from Belgian chocolates and French tarts to various cheeses and German sausages. As well as authentic continental food, you'll find clothing, arts, crafts and decorations from across Europe, and a vintage carousel, helter skelter and Santa's Grotto.

belfastcity.gov.uk

If you're looking for a black jumper, this probably isn't the place for you Credit: Getty

Manchester 

November 8 to December 22

Manchester hosts several markets throughout the city, incluidng a European market in Albert Square, a German-style market at St Ann's Square and French-themed stalls at King Street. You'll find boutiques and some great food outlets at Exchange Square, and arts and crafts at Brazennose Street with a globally-sourced selection of jewellery, leather goods and speciality foods. There are fairground rides in Cathedral Gardens and more stalls in New Cathedral Street and Market Street. The food this year promises to be a highlight with everything from gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches to hot filled Yorkshire pudding wraps, Dutch frites, espresso martinis, mulled gin and shimmering gold prosecco on offer.

manchester.gov.uk

Glasgow

November 25 to December 31

The Glasgow Christmas Market continues at St Enoch Square, with an international array of goods on offer. Visitors can sample Bavarian beers and mulled wine as well as local crispy duck rotisserie, a hog roast and French crepes. The Christmas market at George Square (November 25 to December 31) features craft gifts, live entertaiment and funfair rides.

glasgowloveschristmas.com

Manchester looking festive Credit: Getty

Cardiff

November 14 to December 23

There's a great range of artwork on sale at this market in the centre of Cardiff – from collage and photographic prints to posters and cards. Other stalls sell children's toys and outfits, glassware and ceramics, knitwear, jewellery and much more. Beyond the market there's a funfair and ice rink at  (Dec 6-20).

cardiffchristmasmarket.com

Exeter 

November 16 to December 19

Devon's cathedral city hosts its Christmas market on the historic grounds of Cathedral Green (Nov 16 to Dec 19). Locals showcase a variety of hand-crafted gifts while the 'food village' is back by popular demand, selling everything from roast hog to baklava and Belgian chocolates to mulled apple gin.

exeter-cathedral.org.uk

Be prepared for your waistline to expand Credit: istock

Brighton

November 23 to December 8

Brighton, as usual, is doing things a little differently. Over three weekends in November and December (Nov 23 - Dec 8), local artists will open their homes, studios and workshops to sell a range of arts and crafts direct to Christmas shoppers in the scheme. Openings – at around 60 venues – will offer up paintings, prints, upcycled goods, knitwear, jewellery, sculpture and textiles while several artists will also hold workshops including drawing classes, craft activities and puppet shows.

Winchester

November 21 to December 22

The medieval city of Winchester has one of the largest Christmas markets in the south of England, with around 100 wooden chalets housed in Cathedral Close, alongside an open-air skating rink. Stalls sell a range of ​craft items, including Christmas decorations, jewellery, hats, belts, artwork and ​wooden toys and there's a German theme to the food and drink offerings. At the far end of the British Crafts Village, you'll find a charming nativity scene.

Join the choristers on the ice Credit: GETTY

winchester-cathedral.org.uk

Cirencester 

November 30 to December 7

This lovely Cotswolds town is full of Christmas activities and events, with the Sparkles Advent Festival and Market on November 30, when the festive lights are switched on, and a Christmas Market selling a range of food and gifts on weekends from December 1-7, held in the Market Place.  

christmasincirencester.org.uk

Nottingham 

November 14 to December 31

Nottingham's gifts and crafts market is full of festive delights, from roasted chestnuts, cider and mulled wine to carol singing. The market is spread over Smithy Row, Albert Street and Lister Gate. Visitors can also enjoy Nottingham's Winter Wonderland on the Old Market Square, with winter-themed bars, a traditional carousel, children's rides, an ice rink and live music. 

nottinghamwinterwonderland.co.uk

Nottingham goes in for a windmill too Credit: istock

Leeds

November 8 to December 21

Christkindelmarkt, a German Christmas market set in the heart of Leeds at Millennium Square, offers over 40 stalls and delicacies including bratwurst sausages, goulash and schnitzels as well as carousel rides. There are free children's activities every Sunday morning, including face painting, balloon modelling, sing-alongs and creative arts and crafts. Look out for winter wonderland princesses and other costumed characters. The Ski Hutte bar in an alpine chalet-style setting aims to create an apres ski atmosphere, with music.  

Decorations make the traditional carousel Christmassy Credit: istock

whatson.leeds.gov.uk

Portsmouth

November 29 to December 1

This year Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will once again host the Victorian Christmas Festival. Alongside the traditional market, with 120 stalls, there will be characters including Scrooge, The Segway Angels and Queen Victoria herself, a living snow globe and a gin and prosecco parlour.

Canterbury   

November 22 to December 24

Visitors to Canterbury's small traditional market can enjoy the festive spirit in an intimate setting at Whitefriars Square. Its colourful cabins offer up everything you'd expect from a larger market – German mulled wine, Christmas music and hand-crafted gifts.


Go in November to get some new decorations for your tree this year Credit: istock
Historic houses and castles

(November and December)

A Christmas Gift Fair will be held in the grounds of atmospheric  this year, which has been decorated with cinnamon and orange wreaths, pine trees and sparkling lights. The market will open each weekend and feature live music, children's rides, a Victorian carousel and other fairground attractions (Nov 23 to Dec 15).  

The Country Homes and Interiors Christmas Fair will take place on the lawns in front of in Oxfordshire from Nov 21-24 – and the house itself will be decked out in festive style.

Leeds castle: lovely in winter Credit: istock

A Christmas Fair and Fine Food Market will run at in Lincolnshire from Nov 28 - Dec 1.

Have we missed a corker? Leave your suggestions in the box below